Amish novels have become a staple in the Christian fiction marketplace during the past several years. After reading several predictable Amish fiction novels, they have not been on the top of my reading list. The synopsis of The Search by Suzanne Woods Fisher intrigued me and enticed me to give Amish fiction another try.
In the quiet Amish community of
, past secrets are revealed and lives are connected in unexpected ways. Lainey O’Toole, a young English woman finds herself stranded in her hometown of Stoney Ridge on her way to culinary school. Expecting to stay just a few days, Lainey soon realizes that God has other plans for her future. Bertha Reihl is a past acquaintance of Lainey’s and a staple in the Amish community with a reputation for her stubborn streak and her sweet roses. Bertha coaxes her teenage granddaughter, Bess, to live on her rose farm for the summer. Like Lainey, Bess’s journey to Stoney Ridge is ultimately a life-changing journey. As their lives entwine, Lainey, Bess, Bertha, and their families are forced to confront consequences of their past decisions while reexamining their faith and discovering the power of love and forgiveness. Stoney Ridge, Pennsylvania
The Search is a quick and enjoyable read that offers a departure from the more formulaic Amish novels that I have read in the past. Although this book is part of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone novel. Characters from The Choice and The Waiting make appearances in The Search, but each novel focuses on different characters and situations. Fisher writes the novel from several different perspectives, primarily those of Lainey and Bess. As I read the novel, I found myself more drawn to Bess’s character. Over the course of the book, Bess blossoms into a compassionate and strong young woman. Her journey is heartwarming and inspiring, and I hope that her story will continue. I felt less connected to Lainey, who makes several life-changing decisions, but easily transitions into her altered lifestyle. I would have enjoyed a closer look into Lainey’s adjustment to her new life.
Suzanne Woods Fisher reintroduced me to Amish fiction, and I plan to read The Choice and The Waiting. In today’s technological world, the Amish lifestyle is often viewed as idyllic and simple. It is often hard to imagine that the Amish have faults and face daily challenges like the rest of society. Amish fiction offers readers a glimpse into the lifestyle that we find fascinating as outsiders and takes us on a journey to the picturesque farmlands, without leaving our modern comforts.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from LitFuse through their book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About the Book:
Fifteen years ago, Lainey O'Toole made a split-second decision. She couldn't have known that her choice would impact so many.
Now in her mid-twenties, she is poised to go to culinary school when her car breaks down in Stoney Ridge, the very Amish town in which her long-reaching decision was made, forcing her to face the shadowed past.
Bess Reihl is less than thrilled to be spending the summer at Rose Hill Farm with her large and intimidating grandmother, Bertha. It quickly becomes clear that she is there to work the farm--and work hard. The labor is made slightly more tolerable by the time it affords Bess to spend with the handsome hired hand, Billy Lapp. But he only has eyes for a flirty and curvaceous older girl.
Lainey's and Bess's worlds are about to collide and the secrets that come to light will shock them both.
"Beautifully written, 'The Search' is a skillfully woven story that takes readers through unexpected twists and turns on the long country road toward truth. Fans both old and new will find themselves immersed in this heartwarming--and surprising--tale of young love, forgiveness, and coming to grips with the past."
In no particular order, Suzanne Woods Fisher is a wife, mother, writer, lifelong student of the Bible, raiser of puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind, a gardener and a cook...the latter two with sporadic results.
Suzanne has loved to write since she was a young teen. After college, she started to write for magazines and became a contributing editor for Christian Parenting Today magazine. Her family moved to Hong Kong for four years, just as the internet was developing, and she continued to write articles in a 44-story high-rise apartment, sending manuscripts 7,000 miles away with a click of a key.
After returning from Hong Kong, Suzanne decided to give her first novel a try. For four and a half months, she worked on an antediluvian computer in a cramped laundry room. She didn't even tell her husband what she was up to. When the novel was completed, she told her family at dinner one night that she had written a book. "That's why there's no food in this house!" said her slightly insensitive sons.
Undaunted...Suzanne found a small royalty publisher for that book and wrote three more (all earned multiple awards). With help from an agent, she now has numerous books under contract with Revell. Also look for Suzanne's Amish non-fiction, Amish Peace: Simple Wisdom for a Complicated World, a non-fiction book of stories and examples about the Old Order Amish, as well as Amish Proverbs, and coming in Spring of 2011, look for Amish Values for Your Family. The Choice and The Waiting are the previous books in the Lancaster County Secrets Collection.
Writing, for Suzanne, is a way to express a love of God and His word. With every book or article, she hopes readers get a sense of what faith really looks like in the daily grind. She hopes they realize that life can be hard, but God is good, and never to confuse the two.
Suzanne can be found on-line at: www.suzannewoodsfisher.com
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